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Results and Reports for June 8-14, 2002
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Carnegie Caulfield Road Race
Bayles, June 8, 2002
The Carnegie Caulfield Cycling Club hosted the first stage of the South East Region Queen's Birthday 3 Day Tour, with an extraordinarily tough flat stage to kick things off. The Tour is run on a Points format, with two stages on Sunday hosted by Blackburn, and a Criterium finale on Monday hosted by the Chelsea & Peninsula Club.
In an effort to appeal to as many riders as possible, riders had the option of competing in all 4 stages, and being eligible for the overall trophy and prizemoney, or racing individual events for the normal daily prizes to fit in with their holiday weekend commitments.
The forecast for the weekend was pretty dismal, with the expectation of hail and storms bound to keep numbers down. The weather on the day surprisingly good, with mild temperatures and clear skies, but a vicious north westerly wind guaranteed a tough day in the saddle. Despite the weather and the long weekend, a healthy field of 130 riders found their way to Bayles ready to race.
The Bayles circuit is 32km in length, flat as can be, but very open and exposed to the cold and strong winds. The long first leg to Tynong saw riders combat a strong cross wind, which saw all bunches explode as the stronger and more experienced riders forced the pace from the relative shelter of the front echelon. The short second leg to Nar Nar Goon was straight into the wind before another killer long cross wind stretch. Only the shortest leg to the finish had the advantage of the roaring tail wind!
A fall at the opening corner saw 2 riders out of the A Grade race almost before it had started, before the tempo set by the 4 man SBR juggernaut saw the race splinter; with James Taylor (ACR) and Dennis Bowen-Day (Gran Prix Bicycles) the only riders strong enough to join the SBR train of Kristjan Snorrason, Nick Kiraly, Chris Carr and Mikkeli Godfree. At the turn for home at the end of the first lap, the leaders were 45 seconds clear of the next 10 riders, all that remained of the bunch, with the remaining riders trailing in in dribs and drabs.
A puncture to SBR team captain Snozza saw Godfree sacrifice his rear wheel, and the next cross wind stretch saw Carr, Taylor and Kiraly extend their advantage. Crossing the line with 1 lap to race however, their advantage was down to a handful of seconds, with Snozza looking fully recovered at the tail of the chasing bunch. Bowen-Day's early effort was too much, and he lost contact with the bunch and withdrew from the race.
Snozza's relative freshness paid off, and he escaped the bunch taking main rival Taylor with him. Nick Kiraly proved his win in the Sonny Barnes Handicap wasn't solely related to his freakish climbing abilities by tacking on, with young mountain bike star Trent Lowe (Yeti) also having the legs to latch on. Coming in to the finish, Taylor was forced to lead out allowing Snorrason to come round to take his first road race win since a long lay off with knee problems. Taylor took second ahead of Kiraly and Lowe.
B Grade proved a race of attrition, with each long cross wind leg shedding a few more exhausted riders off the back. Young Simon Clarke (BikeNOW) was keen to show off his new bike and burnt off some excess energy riding solo for a good part of the second lap before realizing the bunch was happy to let him burn himself out and returned to the fold.
Only a handful of riders were left in the front group in the closing stages, and under the watchful eye of Max 'Hollywood' Rainsford maintained their advantage to the finish. In the tailwind finish, big Max got the monster gear turning to lead home gear restricted Under 17 stars Michael Ford (Gran Prix) and Clarke, with Mark Windram claiming the final podium position. Claire Baxter (Fitzroy Cycles) was the solo woman finisher, and rode the last lap alone after many riders abandoned around her.
C Grade saw a similar style of race, after an initial purging of the weaker riders in the first lap came a gradual attrition as the wind took its toll on a bunch who had clamored for a third lap before the race got underway!
Still, 15 riders remained together at the conclusion of the race, with no one able to get over Marcus Prentice who lead out early. Kirsty Bortolin produced a great sprint to take 2nd overall and first lady, ahead of Brian Bourke and Ron Chapman.
Meaghan Godfrey took her first win in D Grade in fine style, bridging to a late attack from experienced Vet John Groves, and working with him over the last 5km to maintain their slender advantage and take out the First and First Woman's double. All that secret training under the instructions of Barcelona Olympian Rob Crowe has already started to pay off! Sean Bourke led the bunch home ahead of Bill Upston a few seconds later.
Tess Downing (Le Tour Cycles) and Lisa Friend were too strong for the other Junior riders, and approached the finish with a commanding lead. Tess was too quick in the finish, and took the win by a few lengths, with Louise Bourke making it three 3rd place finishes for the Bourke family on the day. Anthony McCabe impressed with his perseverance to complete the full distance in only his second race start.
Special mention to the volunteers who helped ensure all riders safety on the day, without who there would not have been a race: Commissaire Ian Hay; corner marshals Daryl Perkins, Maurice Murray, Mick Hollingworth and Peter Cayley (President of the Hawthorn CC); lead car drivers Frank Murphy, Jock McCabe, Mike Clarke and Barry Kelly; Junior riding marshals Matthew Wright and Simon Quick; and last but not least Ann Johnstone and Fiona Pyke from Chelsea for their help at the entry table and in making sense of the Tour rules!
A Grade 96km, 29 starters 1 Kristjan Snorrason (Carnegie Caulfield CC) 2 James Taylor (Carnegie Caulfield CC) 3 Nick Kiraly (Carnegie Caulfield CC) 4 Trent Lowe (Dirt Riders CC) B Grade 96km, 36 Starters 1 Max Rainsford (Carnegie Caulfield CC) 2 Michael Ford (Carnegie Caulfield CC) 3 Simon Clarke (Carnegie Caulfield CC) 4 Mark Windram (Carnegie Caulfield CC) B Grade Women: 1 Claire Baxter (Hawthorn CC) C Grade 64km, 37 starters 1 Marcus Prentice (Blackburn CC) 2 Kirsty Bortolin (Blackburn CC) 3 Brian Bourke (Blackburn CC) 4 Ron Chapman (Chelsea & Peninsula CC) C Grade Women: 1 Kirsty Bortolin (Blackburn CC) D Grade 64km, 22 starters 1 Meaghan Godfrey (Carnegie Caulfield CC) 2 John Groves (Carnegie Caulfield CC) 3 Sean Bourke (Blackburn CC) 4 Bill Upston (Carnegie Caulfield CC) D Grade Women: 1 Meaghan Godfrey (Carnegie Caulfield CC) Juniors 32km 1 Tess Downing (Carnegie Caulfield CC) 2 Lisa Friend (Blackburn CC) 3 Louise Bourke (Blackburn CC) 4 Anthony McCabe (Carnegie Caulfield CC)